CULTURE CNN accused of politicizing Hanfu


CNN accused of politicizing Hanfu

Global Times

01:14, October 18, 2019


Models dressed in traditional Chinese hanfu take to the runway at Beijing Fashion Week.  (Photo: Global Times)

A photography company in Southwest China's Sichuan Province sent a lawyer's letter to CNN on Thursday after the news outlet claimed to introduce the revival of China's "Hanfu" culture, but ended up politicizing the popularity of the traditional Chinese garment as a way of promoting nationalism. 

Qiu Xiaoran, an attorney from the Sichuan Liming Law Firm, told the Global Times on Thursday that he received the request from Chengdu Linxi Company on Wednesday to urge CNN to stop all infringements on the company, and the law firm has sent a lawyer's letter to CNN. 

The lawyer's letter and the company's Sina Weibo account said CNN contacted the company on October 8 for an interview to introduce the revival of China's Hanfu culture and asked the company to provide some photos of young people wearing Hanfu.

On Thursday afternoon, the Global Times found out that CNN had removed the photos from the report.

The company said on Tuesday a dozen photos it sent to CNN were inserted in an article full of political assertions instead of introducing Hanfu culture.

The CNN report published on Sunday said the revival and popularity of Hanfu in China is being used to promote nationalism instead of a fashion trend. In the report, an interviewee said that she thinks Hanfu should be called "Huafu" instead of "Hanfu," because she thinks Huafu is a more proper term to describe clothing from all ethnic groups when it comes to traditional [Chinese] culture. But the CNN report referred to Chinese clothing more generally without the ethnic connotations. 

By introducing Hanfu's popularity in recent years, the report concluded that ethnic marginalization and suppression is a particularly prominent concern in today's China.

"It is very clear in China that Hanfu is merely a fashion trend among young people, especially among college students with their increasing interest in traditional Chinese culture," Zhang Yiwu, a professor at Peking University, told the Global Times. 

East Asian countries like Japan, South Korea and North Korea have their own ethnic garments, as well as all the minority ethnic groups in China, while the ethnic garments of the Han ethnic group have become obscure in the last decades. Therefore, some young people started to advocate Hanfu, Zhang added.

Zhang believes the popularity of Hanfu among young people will not influence ethnic culture preservation in China.

China has been awash in claims from the Western world that China is suppressing ethnic minority groups by promoting Han culture, which turned Chinese government efforts in ethnic culture preservation into an elephant in the room.

Top Chinese leaders have reiterated the importance of ethnic minority culture protection and inheritance on many occasions.

A regulation on national cultural ecology protection zones from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism was implemented nationwide in March. Ethnic minority culture inheritance, protection and development have been included in several Chinese laws, according to the website of the Chinese State Council Information Office.

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